Baseball

Javier, Astros Pitch 2nd No-Hitter In World Series History

Pitchers Christian Javier, Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly held the Phillies hitless for the first World Series no-hitter since 1956.

Houston Astros pitchers after a combined no-hitter in the 2022 World Series.
Matt Slocum / AP
SMS

Hammered the night before, Cristian Javier and the Houston Astros desperately needed to figure out how to keep Bryce Harper and the Phillies in the ballpark.

How about a no-hitter, would that do?

Javier and Houston's bullpen combined on just the second no-hitter in World Series history, silencing a booming lineup and boisterous fans as the Astros blanked Philadelphia 5-0 Wednesday night to even the matchup at two games each.

“You get slapped in the face yesterday and you want to come back today and make a statement,” closer Ryan Pressly said.

The only previous no-hitter in the World Series was a perfect game by Don Larsen of the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956.

Javier and three relievers weren't perfect in Game 4, but they were close.

Plus, they'd done this before: Javier, the starter in a combined no-hitter against the New York Yankees in June, was pulled with a no-hitter in progress after six innings and 97 pitches this time.

Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Pressly each followed with a hitless inning for the first combined no-hitter in postseason play. Astros arms totaled 14 strikeouts and three walks in ensuring this year’s championship will be decided this weekend back at Minute Maid Park.

Soon after J.T. Realmuto grounded out to end it, the quartet of pitchers posed with catcher Christian Vázquez near the visiting dugout, each putting a hand on the game ball for a photo. It's a picture no one could've envisioned 24 hours earlier, when Philadelphia clubbed a Series record-tying five home runs in a 7-0 romp in Game 3.

“That’s crazy, man," Vázquez said. “It was special.”

The four pitchers and Vázquez also signed a ball headed to the Hall of Fame.

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Javier said his parents predicted Tuesday night he was going to throw a no-hitter. The 25-year-old righty from the Dominican Republic said his father, Cecilio Javier, arrived in the United States on Tuesday, and this was the first time his dad saw him pitch.

“I just came out holding onto God, trying to be positive, trying to attack the strike zone," he said via translator. "Thanks to God I was able to accomplish that.”

In 2010, Roy Halladay pitched a no-hitter for the Phillies in the NL Division Series, also here at Citizens Bank Park. Halladay's gem came against a Cincinnati team managed by Dusty Baker, Houston's current skipper.

“Oh, yeah, I was on the other end in this ballpark. I mean, that’s what’s strange about life,” Baker said.

With Larsen and the Houston combo, those are the only three no-hitters in the postseason.

The closest the Phillies came to a hit was in the third inning, when Kyle Schwarber grounded a hard foul past first base. On fair balls, nothing.

“It’s cool,” Schwarber said, sarcastically. “We’ll be in the history books I guess.”

Game 5 is on Thursday night in Philly. Astros ace Justin Verlander will again chase that elusive first World Series win when he faces Noah Syndergaard.

They can only hope to pitch as well as Javier.

Completely in charge, Javier struck out nine — including five straight — walked two and hardly allowed any loud contact. He tamed a club that had been 6-0 at home this postseason while hitting 17 home runs.

Opponents hit only .170 against Javier during the regular season, the lowest mark in baseball among pitchers with at least 130 innings.

“When I first met him he told me he had a disappearing fastball and I’m like, `There is no such thing.’ But I guess so," Baker said.

Javier threw 70 fastballs and the Phillies barely touched him.

“I think it’s the best fastball I've ever seen," Vázquez said.

Philadelphia was no-hit by five New York Mets pitchers in April, one of several crushing losses that led to manager Joe Girardi's firing two months later.

This was the fourth no-hitter of the season — two combos by the Astros, the team job by the Mets and the only individual effort, by Angels rookie Reid Detmers.

Maybe it was the team’s switch to orange tops, or the lucky lunch Baker had at a Philly hoagie spot, but the Astros sure looked different than the previous night, when they got shut out on a feeble five singles.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.